Poor Tiffany Trump, Left Out of All the Photos Like “Evidence-Based,” is Left Out of This Sestina [Jennifer Martelli]

Dear Don Jr.: In the green light of night-vision goggles, I saw a vulnerable
elephant brought down by seven pure & metallic lionesses. Their diverse
uteri—some in estrus, heat glowing & thick & fertile. Pregnant lion with her fetus
curled & hairless, really no more than a newt, a red eft, transgender—
that lioness suffocated the pachyderm, bit his trunk shut. The Nat Geo scientists
based this on her thicker pelt, her place of honor in the hunt, her kill-entitlement.

Dear Eric: Deep in the Czechoslovakian heart, the stones—like a toothy entitled
smile—cause the trees to grow curved as broken cornets or flutes, the roots vulnerable
to the warped mind of the terrain, & the wind, & the earth’s curve. The science
of the moon & the sun, too, twist the trunks until they bend. The only diversity:
the degree of the curve, how low the trees drag their bellies. Trunks bent the way a fetus
bends, to accommodate the mother, the canal, that mouth torn pink & transformed.

Dear Ivanka: You confuse me. Your breasts are amazing, your shoulders though, trans-
religious & broad, & your porcelain husband—do you break him? You are entitled,
Cowgirl, to ride that bronco but he cries, don’t hurt me! (He calls you Mommy).  Feed us,
Mommy, feed my girly-girl heart, feed my slumlord mouth, feed the vulture
your black milk of morning
. All golden hair Margareta. Your father wasn’t diverse—
wife & wife & wife & daughter wife & beauty queen & you, fate-based by science.

Dear Tiffany: 3’s equal an imbalance, an odd ball, an extra. Science
warns us, too. That dangling chromosome. That vestigial sac. Transgender
organs & clothes. Something has to go. Be lopped off. Pick a side. Divest
your riches from the ivied universities. In your father’s world, you are un-titled,
you do not exist. Poof! The sky is as blue as your heavy eyelids. Invulnerable
symmetry, like God, all golden. Like you. But beautiful. Not so freakish.

Dear Barron: When you were a golden apostrophe, an owned billionaire fetus
owning a golden horse, a golden lion, a golden truck, a golden sun science
says can burn the world to ash, your mother protected you, most vulnerable
trump-card in the cursed Tarot deck. Why won’t you smile an amber frown trans-
posed into a grimace? Your smile the mark of possession, your name the title
of peerage: Barron Trump. Barron, all yours, the rutting, the ash, the sadness divers.

Dear Children of the United States: Apologies, you will have to go long, dive
river-deep into America, because it’s your blood-flow, your scoliactic fetal
spinal column. None of this is your fault. Here is your golden belt, your title
written on papyrus, burnt edged & imported. The pseudo-science
pneumococcals flattened the globe: anti-vaxxed face, blank un-pitiless, trans-
Siberian-cold dares you to look it in its eye, you, least venerable, most vulnerable.

Dear Don Jr., say diversity & we (you) die. Dear Eric, say entitlement, & we
(you) end. Dearest Ivanka, say vulnerable. Tiffany, transgender, & so vamoose &
tod. Barron, say science-based & behold: children say fetus & flower.


Jennifer Martelli’s debut poetry collection, The Uncanny Valley, was published in 2016 by Big Table Publishing Company. She is also the author of After Bird from Grey Book Press. Her work has appeared in Thrush, [Pank], Glass Poetry Journal, Cleaver, The Heavy Feather Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Jennifer Martelli has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly as well as the co-curator for The Mom Egg VOX Folio.

Inspiration: Although I rarely write in form, I love the obsession of the sestina. I treated each stanza as a separate poem, a letter to the Trump kids. This allowed me to focus, in a simpler way, on what I saw as their unique characteristics!




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